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CHAIRMAN’S REPORT October 25, 2014
By Lloyd Criss
The person we elect for State Representative District 23 will need to combat a Republican – Insurance conspiracy to shut down the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA). It is essential we elect the person committed to fix it rather than shut it down.
Texas Republican Lt. Governor David Dewhurst has assigned the Senate Business and Commerce Committee the task of developing a plan to shut down TWIA. To justify his assignment he said, “TWIA is disrupting market driven pricing.”
Mark Hanna, a chief spokesman representing Texas Insurance pledged to work to shut down TWIA. “They can’t compete with TWIA rates,” Hanna said.
The TWIA was created in 1971 to provide affordable windstorm insurance to residents on the Texas Gulf Coast. It was made necessary because the entire Texas insurance industry had abandoned selling windstorm insurance in this area.
It does not require a rocket scientist to figure out what Dewhurst meant by “market driven pricing” or Hanna by “they can’t compete with TWIA rates.” If they prevail there will be either no windstorm insurance available for local residents or it will become very expensive.
Why did the TWIA fund go broke? The insurance industry spin blames it on trial lawyers. The local Republican candidate for state representative also parrots this untrue accusation.
The Republican administration and insurance industry share joint responsibility.
State law requires insurance companies operating in Texas to reimburse the fund when costs exhaust its premium revenues. That industry violated this legal obligation. It currently owes the fund $400 million.
TWIA’s governing board consists of four insurance members and five Republican appointees. According to a Texas Tribune story, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst instructed TWIA management following Hurricane Ike to resist all claims. Had the agency settled in good faith with policy holders, there would have been no trial lawyer involvement.
The Dewhurst order forced 4,000 local hurricane victims to take their claims to court. The judge assigned the cases to mediation. Mediation requires all parties to reach agreement for final settlement. Republicans and insurance were represented by TWIA and agreed to all settlements, including attorney fees.
Abortion, redistricting, voter ID, same sex marriage, public school funding are not issues for the 2015 Legislature because they have already been addressed by past legislative sessions. Their final resolutions will be determined in state or federal courts.
Texas Windstorm Insurance is the big issue for every Gulf Coast resident. The next legislature will decide future availability and costs.
Who do you trust to fight this battle for your family’s future?
The Republican is a Dickinson State Farm insurance agent. His campaign is financed by thousands from insurance industry political committees. At a GDN forum he said, “The state doesn’t need to be in the insurance business.” Whose side is he on?
The Democrat has no insurance ties. She is strong woman and a hurricane victim herself. She understands the district’s need for windstorm insurance protection.
The local political clubs are all going strong with plenty of activities. New people who wish to become politically active and make a difference are encouraged to join the local county democratic club of your choice or area. Your input is welcome. Information on where, why and how to join is provided in this web site.
Local Campaign Headquarters will open throughout the County in early Fall, 2014. Watch for information about where to pick up candidate materials. Please volunteer to work in a headquarters near you.
We have many other exciting events planned in the future in 2014-2015 that will be featured in upcoming reports. Watch our County calendar!